Wireless News

LISTen: An LISNews.org Program -- Episode 265

This year's final episode presents an essay. No new episodes will be released until further announcement is made in 2014. In the interim we encourage you to enjoy the back episodes of the 2013 reboot of The Tomorrow People. (N.B. No sponsorship has been provided by The CW, we just like the show enough to recommend it)

Download here (MP3) (Ogg Vorbis) (Free Lossless Audio Codec) (Speex), or subscribe to the podcast (MP3) to have episodes delivered to your media player. We suggest subscribing by way of a service like gpodder.net.

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/us/.

In Paris, A Display From Hockney's Pixelated Period

<blockquote>David Hockney thinks his current exhibition may be the first one that's ever been 100 percent e-mailed to a gallery. The 73-year-old artist is standing in the space in question — the Pierre Berge-Yves St. Laurent Foundation in Paris — trying to talk about the works, when his iPhone rings.</blockquote> More from <a href=http://www.npr.org/2010/12/07/131854461/in-paris-a-display-from-hockney-s-pixelated-period>NPR's Morning Edition</a>.

Blade Runner moment

I downloaded the Microsoft Tags Reader for my phone and scanned one of the USA Today tags. It wasn’t in the best light and the app didn’t recognize the tag at first but in a "Blade Runner Deckard" type moment the app triangulated, centered, and focused on the tag image and then pulled up the newspaper's business headlines - wow!

Taxonomy upgrade extras: 

Apple Admits Using Child Labor

So much for being green and all that. At least eleven 15-year-old children were discovered to be working last year in three factories which supply Apple.

The company did not name the offending factories, or say where they were based, but the majority of its goods are assembled in China.
Apple also has factories working for it in Taiwan, Singapore, the Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, the Czech Republic and the United States.

Apple said the child workers are now no longer being used, or are no longer underage (i.e., they've grown up on the job). "In each of the three facilities, we required a review of all employment records for the year as well as a complete analysis of the hiring process to clarify how underage people had been able to gain employment," Apple said, in an annual report on its suppliers.

Telegraph UK.

Coming Out Now...the iPad (aka the Apple Tablet)

Wired speculates about the up and coming new device that Apple will be announcing today. Will it be a glorified book reader? An iPod Touch/iPhone on steroids? We will find out very quickly here, and then we can all envision how we could use the device. Will it help you at work? Will it be the perfect commuting partner? Will you use it as the mother of all television remotes? Consider this, though. How will it affect our children? How will they use the tablet?

If your children are anything like mine, they will want to play with it the moment it comes out of the box. They will be amazed at how large their favorite iPod Touch apps look on the larger screen. And the screen will be large enough that they can both play with it at once. We could watch videos from the internet or do interactive educational websites (I’m looking at you, BBC) without leaving our school table. When we go on a trip, we could bring our entire homeschool library with us. Of course, we’d have to have two tablets, since we have two children.

Read More http://www.wired.com/geekdad/2010/01/how-will-the-apple-tablet-change-our-kids-lives/#ixzz0d... and in the NY Times.

Saved by the text!

I function as an "embedded" librarian of sorts as part of my instructional duties, and last week I filled in for a class session. Well, to make a long story short, the assigned classroom was not the regular classroom. The class began at 12:30 and only three students had showed up, I was beginning to panic at 12:40 - was I going to have to do an abbreviated instruction session, reschedule the session for a later date in an already tight semester schedule, etc. Anyway, a few more students came in during the next few minutes but at 12:45 12+ students walked in as a group!

Bandwidth for Libraries...a Possible Stimulus Recipient

An effort to make the nation's public libraries a major source of robust Internet access is gaining momentum as a disparate group of foundations, companies, and trade and government agencies weigh in with plans to build support for bringing fiber optic technology to the country's 16,500 libraries.

Don Means, founder of the Fiber to the Library Project, has said improving Internet broadband access to public libraries "provides the biggest bang for the stimulus buck." The Gates Foundation, in a proceeding before the FCC, has estimated an investment of $700 million to $1.7 billion would pay for the installation fiber for 87% of public libraries currently without fiber. The Gates FCC effort seeks to generate public comments by Oct. 28.

"We see libraries as early adopters of technologies," said Means in a statement. "A lot of people had their first experience with first-generation broadband at a library. We think libraries are demand drivers for emerging technologies." Information Week reports.

An Ill Wind Blows

7 October 2009

There is a film titled "A Mighty Wind". It is a great film in the genre of the mockumentary. Unfortunately this piece is not about that film. Instead we get to talk about mighty winds.

Overnight Tuesday into Wednesday, northeast Ohio was battered with high-velocity winds. Wind gusts were estimated at points around forty-five miles per hour. Rain was scattered. Branches were felled by this mighty wind. This was something that would lead into something worse.

I was already woke up once by the whistling winds outside my bedroom windows. After I caught another two hours of sleep, I woke up to find a lack of power. The first priority, though, was to secure down the facility in light of the winds. This meant running around locking up the barn, checking on the corn crib that doubles as the "cat house" and more. The barn cats were no dummies and seemed to fly inside as soon as a door was opened.

After waiting a while in case the power outage was transient, we departed for somewhere with power. This part of Ohio has two seasons: "snow" and "not snow". It was getting cold and when we called the outage in to First Energy we were not even given an estimated time of restoration.

The outage pointed out some problems. First and foremost, my battery-operated transistor radio worked fine. I could hear WWOW's morning program just fine. The time signal on shortwave from WWV was still audible. Computers in the house were fancy-looking door stops. Laptop batteries have a particular mean time between failure and unfortunately some batteries were miserable failures. Desktops could not be fired up without electricity. The Apple portable media player had a decent battery charge but it was preserved for as long as possible.

While we went driving, we saw what looked to be part of the problem. Kingsville Township Volunteer Fire Department was out responding to a downed electrical line. The line was sparking and the field it was being buffeted around in due to the high winds bore scorch marks from the fires it started. This felt all too reminiscent of the huge outage in 2003 that covered a significant chunk of the northeastern United States as well as the Canadian province of Ontario. In that case a tree that fell started a cascade that wiped out power to many.

For librarians, this presents some interesting points. While the data cloud might be proposed to be a great tool, it would have been a miserable failure in the face of a power outage. If a Kindle were possessed on the farm it would have been useless for downloading as Sprint has no coverage at the farm. Although news was just released that AT&T will be eventually providing data coverage for Kindles, that would still not help here. Power had to be shepherded in battery operated devices as there was no way to know when service would be restored. That would wipe out any hope of mobile broadband or similar backstops for accessing the cloud. Thankfully the backup power supplies at the cell towers were intact long enough to call in outage reports but I would not have pushed my luck in seeking data through those means.

This was a case where books won out. Candlelight or the light from a hurricane lamp would be sufficient provided I could find my glasses. Analog tools like that did not need power to operate and would have carried through.

Fortunately the outage only lasted a few hours and service was restored for us by the early evening. Not everybody in northeast Ohio affected by this have seen service restored yet. This does leave an issue for librarians to ponder. While issues like irregular power are normally thought of as things happening to the poor abroad, what happens when the homeland does not seem as impervious to such problems? How do you plan effective information access over digital means in light of such?

Creative Commons License
An Ill Wind Blows by Stephen Michael Kellat is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.

Apple Sued Over Touch-Screen Rights

Taiwanese firm Elan Microelectronics has sued Apple Computer alleging infringement of two of its touch-screen patents, a company spokesman said Wednesday.

The suit was filed late Tuesday afternoon in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, said spokesman Dennis Liu, speaking by phone from the chip design firm’s headquarters in Hsinchu, Taiwan.

“We couldn't find a common viewpoint with Apple, so we decided we had to take action,” he said, adding that the companies had been in licensing talks for about two years.

The lawsuit alleges that Apple products including its MacBook computer, iPhone and iPod Touch use technology that infringes on two of Elan’s “multi-touch” patents, the company said in a statement.

Wonder what this will mean for all those Apple products already in use.

Kindle competitor starting in Europe

James Sherwood wrote at The Register's hardware section about a "Book on Mobile" plan by Vodafone. While The Register is a tech publication based in Europe, it may be possible that reading books on your own smartphone under this plan may not be too far off for the United States. Vodafone is, after all, a minority owner of Verizon Wireless so there is some potential leverage to bring such to the United States eventually.

Libraries switch off wi-fi internet

Libraries switch off wi-fi internet: Four libraries in Paris, France, have turned off their wi-fi internet connections after staff claimed they were causing health problems.

The latest to shut down its wireless network is the wireless Sainte-Genevieve university library in the 5th arrondissement after a member of staff threatened to take early retirement on health grounds.

The library has had wi-fi installed since the end of 2007. All computer users will now have to plug their laptops into the conventional fixed-line network.

Making Sense of Mobile Broadband Options

Here's A Neat Web Worker Daily Post that gives a great breakdown of the options for getting online on the go. They cover Cellular Options from all the carriers and Wi-Fi Options you're likely to run across. HSDPA, EDGE, 3G, USB/PCMCIA, EVDO... holy acronyms!

Canadian Songwriters Ask for $5 tax on Internet Connections

Canadian Song writers are asking that a $5 per month tax be added to all Internet and wireless connections to compensate for loss revenue. The Songwriters Association of Canada claims this should adequately cover losses they have encountered while permitting users seemingly unfettered access to most music. <a href="http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20071205-canadian-songwriters-propose-monetizing-p2p-in-canada.html">See full story here</a>.

Want More PCs? Someone's Got to Pay for Them

The AP reports: YouTube, online job applications and homework help sites have boosted demand and contributed to lines for Internet access at the nation's public libraries, yet a new survey finds the majority have no immediate plans to add computers.

For many library systems, the buildings simply do not have enough room, and their electrical wiring couldn't deliver the required power. Others are already struggling to stay open, buy books and encourage youths to read.

"We have this entirely brand new service coming to libraries, but the funding has not recognized that," said Kathleen Reif, director of the St. Mary's County Library in Leonardtown, Md. "We're still continuing the books, the outreach, the work with young children and the student support."

A new study from the American Library Association, scheduled for release Wednesday, finds the average number of public Internet terminals largely unchanged since 2002, yet only 1 in 5 libraries say they have enough computers to meet demand at all times.


The FCC will grant some of Google's wishes regarding the auction of 700mhz frequencies later this year. The FCC will require some level of openness for about one third of the frequencies. This will mean that wireless services will need to provide access from more than just their own approved devices.

Google Goes for Wireless

Google would like to see the 700MHz frequencies the FCC is putting up for auction early next year open to openness. Google has submitted a letter to the FCC urging that all bidders be required to accept certain principles of openness such as allowing any wireless device to connect to any service. It is clear that Google would like to foster an environment where ubiquitous computing is enabled. Whether they want to be in the wireless phone business is not clear.

Read more:

NY Times



Cambridge Researchers Plan Wireless Sensor Network

Search-Engines writes "The researchers plan to install 100 sensors by 2011 on streetlamps throughout the city of Cambridge, Massachusetts, using a grant from the U.S. National Science Foundation. Each node will include an embedded PC, an 802.11a/b/g Wi-Fi interface and a collection of weather sensorsThe system solves a constraint on previous wireless networks — battery life — by mounting each node on a municipal streetlamp where it draws power from city electricity. That approach opens up a new range of uses for the sensors, performing long-term experiments like real-time environmental monitoring, correlating micro-climates with population health, or tracking the spread of bio-chemical agents
http://news.yahoo.com/s/pcworld/20070408/tc_pcworl d/130493"

Wireless Users More Engaged With Cyberspace

Are you a wireless user? If so, The Pew Internet and American Life Project experts say that you "show deeper engagement with cyberspace" than your wired comrades.

The BBC reports that while 54% of internet users check e-mail "on the typical day," 72% of wireless users check daily.

Just under half of wireless users get news online every day, compared to 31% of internet users at large.

Not sure if this is a positive trend, as life doesn't really revolve around cyberspace...or does it?

Busted @ the library, after hours wifi surfing

mdoneil writes "An Alaskan man has been arrested for using the public library's wi-fi access from the parking lot after hours.

Get the full scoop from UPI here

Porn not involved at all."

Supercharged With All the Answers

With a title like Supercharged With All the Answers you might think this NYTimes article is about librarians!

You would, of course, be wrong, you only thought that because you're a librarian. The rest of the world would assume it's about something else. It's about mobile technology (cell phones et. al.) and the vast stores of information always and instantly available, in places other than libraries.

Surveys done by the Pew Internet and American Life Project in Washington show that three-quarters of Americans have cellphones and 44 percent of that number can connect to the Internet, said John Horrigan, the project’s associate director. The number of people with hand-held devices is much smaller, 11 percent of the population, and of that group 57 percent can surf the Web.


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